The wind is blowing and the Around Alone yachts are riding the edge of a Southern Ocean front. It's the kind of sailing they came for and despite the rough conditions the spirits are high.
Emma Richards, in typical Emma fashion, is dealing with the conditions in her own special way. She is riding the storm out in her bunk dreaming of a warm, fluffy duvet and feeling responsible towards the many thousands of people who are following the progress of the race on the Internet. Her email was quintessentially Emma and well worth printing in full. Emma may be near the back of Class 1, but she's tops in the minds of many who are following her progress.
"As expected, I am now reaching fast eastwards and the wind is slowly going further aft, or should I say from the west more! Its back to cold wet sailing as opposed to the cold dry sailing before, and all that sleep I was looking forward to isn't quite how I had been imagining it - maybe the dreams of big bed, fluffy pillows and duvet were too vivid in my mind! The boat is crashing around a lot again, with the wind not so steady - it is easy to be sailing across and down waves between 12 and 20 knots boat speed, or with a typical 10-15 degree shift, the boat speed can drop to a steady 10, which will wake you and force you to let go of the sleeping bag wrapped round your top half, and let a hand out into the cold to find the remote control for the autopilot, adjust the steering and then quickly wrap up again to not let out any more warmth you've only just built up! A bit like a cold winters morning when the heating hasn't kicked in cause you are up early for something and just getting your first toe out from under the duvets is the hardest! Then you have to wiggle your toes around to check that they are still there and moving, move your legs to pump some blood back round then close your eyes and try again! The feet definitely get the tough part as they never get to see the inside of the sleeping bag that your top half gets, but they did get a new pair of boots before this leg started! Now I've set the engine charging the batteries, switched off the water maker, and written a little bit for you guys, I'm going to make the most of the engine warming under this seat and snooze again! EM"
She signs all her emails with a kiss bringing a nice feminine touch to a male dominated sport.
While Emma adjusts her course from the comfort of her bunk, the rest of the fleet watch and listen as the storm passes overhead. Bruce Schwab has installed new windows on his coach roof and is enjoying watching the wind and waves without getting wet. "This is fun and fast sailing, in spite of the gray, rainy, and cool conditions. I have the working jib and main with third reef going and we are zipping along. Our little vestibule or "patio" sure is coming in handy, as I have both the jib sheet and mainsheet run into it so I can adjust the trim without having to gear up! In Cape Town we finally put on the bubble windows I have longed for and they are great. I love to stand with my head in the bubble, nice and dry, watching the wild proceedings just outside. Sometimes white water will wash down the deck, up the face of the cabin and even over the bubble, which almost makes it seem like you're in an aquarium!"
While the wind howls overhead, Kojiro Shiarishi on Spirit of yukoh took time to send a few images. Koji is the unofficial photographer for the onboard footage of the Around Alone and we thank him for his effort. It's a tough job to suit up and head on deck to take photos when you would rather be down below. Thanks Koji for all the great images that you send.
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